What did ‘doing well’ look like?

Deciding what learning matters for their service:

Leaders and kaiako were HIGHLY FOCUSED on deciding what learning matters in their service as they implemented Te Whāriki

The learning that matters here is clearly evident in the local curriculum and associated assessment and planning, and in teaching practice.

Internal evaluation processes have helped leaders and kaiako to determine their priorities and evaluate how well children are progressing in relation to these priorities.

Strong pedagogical leadership supports decision making about what learning matters here.

Leaders and kaiako have:

  • engaged in PLD to support them to identify and focus on deciding what learning matters for the children and whānau in their service
  • developed/reviewed their philosophy (and vision) to ensure what matters to the service is explicit.

Consideration has been given to the 20 learning outcomes in Te Whāriki and 3-5 of the following:

  • children’s strengths, interests and needs
  • the goals children have for themselves
  • the goals and aspirations parents and whānau have for their children
  • the goals and aspirations of the wider community
  • kaiako interests, knowledge and strengths.

Leaders and kaiako were SOMEWHAT FOCUSED on deciding what learning matters in their service as they implemented Te Whāriki

The learning that matters here is starting to inform the local curriculum and associated assessment and planning, and in teaching practice.

Internal evaluation processes are helping leaders and kaiako to determine their priorities.

Pedagogical leadership is supporting decision-making about what learning matters here.

Leaders and kaiako have begun to:

  • engage in PLD to identify and focus on deciding what learning matters for the children and whānau in their service
  • develop/review their philosophy (and vision) to make explicit what matters in their service.

Consideration is being given to the 20 learning outcomes in Te Whāriki and at least two of the following:

  • children’s strengths, interests and needs
  • the goals children have for themselves
  • the goals and aspirations parents and whānau have for their children
  • the goals and aspirations of the wider community
  • kaiako interests, knowledge and strengths.

Leaders and kaiako were NOT FOCUSED on deciding what learning matters in their service as they implemented Te Whāriki

Leaders and kaiako are yet to:

  • Consider what learning matters for their children
  • access PLD to support them to identify and focus on what learning matters for the children and whānau in their service
  • review their philosophy (and vision) to make explicit what learning matters in their service
  • make visible what learning matters in their service in their local curriculum and associated assessment and planning, and in teaching practice
  • implement internal evaluation processes that help leaders and kaiako to determine their priorities.

An important aspect many services did not adequately consider, was alignment between deciding what learning matters here and the 20 learning outcomes in Te Whāriki.

Learning-focused partnerships with parents and whānau:

Leaders and kaiako were HIGHLY ENGAGED in learning-focused partnerships with parents and whānau as they implemented Te Whāriki

Leaders and kaiako regularly share assessment information about children’s progress and learning with parents and whānau and collaborate in planning for their child’s learning.

Internal evaluation provides evidence of the impact of policies and practices on strengthening engagement with parents and whānau. Leaders and kaiako know the impact of their learning partnerships with parents and whānau on children’s learning.

Authentic learning-focused partnerships enable parents and whānau to contribute to:

  • the service’s vision, philosophy, goals and priorities for children’s learning as expressed in the local curriculum
  • the priorities for their child’s learning and development, including the aspirations they have for the child and how these related to the learning outcomes in Te Whāriki
  • discussions about their child’s progress and learning across service and home contexts.

The local curriculum and associated planning and assessment is highly responsive and strongly reflects:

  • the aspirations parents and whānau have for their children
  • the priorities identified for children’s learning through high levels of engagement with parents and whānau
  • children’s language, culture and identity
  • shared understandings about children’s developing capabilities, interests and need for support.

Leaders and kaiako were BEGINNING TO ENGAGE in learning-focused partnerships with parents and whānau as they implemented Te Whāriki

Leaders and kaiako are sharing assessment information with parents and whānau and seeking their input into planning for their children’s learning.

Internal evaluation is helping leaders and kaiako begin to evaluate and improve their engagement with parents and whānau, and identify the impact of this engagement on children’s learning.

Authentic learning-focused partnerships are being developed that enable parents and whānau to contribute to:

  • the service’s vision, philosophy, goals and priorities for children’s learning
  • the priorities for their child’s learning and development, including the aspirations they have for the child and how these related to the learning outcomes in Te Whāriki
  • discussions about their child’s progress and learning across service and home contexts.

The local curriculum and associated planning and assessment is beginning to:

  • be more responsive to the aspirations parents and whānau have for their children
  • reflect some of the service’s priorities for children’s learning identified through engagement with parents and whānau
  • acknowledge and respond to children’s language, culture and identity
  • reflect shared understanding of children’s developing capabilities, interests and need for support.

Leaders and kaiako were YET TO ENGAGE in learning-focused partnerships with parents and whānau as they implemented Te Whāriki

Leaders and kaiako share limited assessment information with parents and whānau and do not seek their input into planning for their child’s learning.

Internal evaluation is not focused on improving engagement with parents and whānau.

Leaders and kaiako are very much focused on developing relationships with parents and whānau. They are not yet engaging in authentic learning-focused partnerships.

Leaders and kaiako do not seek parents and whānau input into the service’s vision, philosophy, goals and priorities for children’s learning.

The local curriculum and associated planning and assessment is not responsive to parent and whānau aspirations (if these are sought).

The curriculum does not acknowledge or respond to children’s language, culture and identity.

The most common areas that made the difference between a service being judged as ‘beginning to engage’ and ‘highly engaged’ were: using the information parents and whānau had shared to weave a local curriculum; and the strength of internal evaluation.

One service’s story of building on relationships with parents and whānau to develop learning-focused partnerships

Leaders and kaiako in this early learning service worked to establish strong, respectful relationships as the foundation for parents, whānau and the community to develop trusting learning partnerships. Leaders and kaiako believed when parents and whānau felt a sense of belonging to the service, they would be comfortable to share what they knew about their children and work with kaiako around their aspirations for their children.

Kaiako used a variety of strategies to take the relationship to the level of a learning-focused partnership. They deliberately made time for face-to-face conversations about children’s developing interests, capabilities and need for support. Kaiako had informal conversations with parents about their children’s learning at least once a week, and formal conversations at scheduled times through the year. When kaiako wrote a new learning story for a child, they personally shared the story with the child’s parents, and invited their suggestions for how to strengthen the learning.

Kaiako invited parents to record their aspirations for their children on ‘feathers’ which they displayed in a ‘Cloak of Dreams’ in the service – keeping the aspirations current and visible. They used these aspirations to inform their priorities for children’s learning, and from there develop a local curriculum meaningful to the children and their parents and whānau. Other information used in developing their priorities were the 20 Learning Outcomes in Te Whāriki, the governing body’s priorities and kaiako strengths and interests.
Kaiako made links between what they knew about children’s home lives, and the learning happening in the service. They invited parents to contribute to children’s assessment, and partnered with parents to decide the next steps for children’s learning. This was particularly strong when the child had special needs. Kaiako respected and valued what parents knew about their children and the insights
they provided.

These learning-focused partnerships meant many parents and whānau were comfortable being actively involved in the life of the service; they contributed to the programme, spent time at the service and joined in excursions. Collaborating authentically with parents meant kaiako were also able to respond to children in ways that recognised and respected the children’s language, culture and identity. Children experienced authentic learning opportunities, meaningful to them and their whānau, and assessment recognised children’s learning both in the service, and at home.

We continue to recommend leaders and kaiako:

  • engage more deeply with Te Whāriki to build a shared understanding of expectations associated with reviewing and designing their local curriculum

  • provide appropriate time and resources to support
    collaborative teacher inquiry

  • identify their PLD needs, so they can select PLD that is
    timely and relevant

  • unpack and discuss the learning outcomes in Te Whāriki as
    part of their assessment, planning and evaluation processes.

We recommend the Ministry of Education work with the sector to:

  • provide resources, guidance and exemplars to support services to understand what a local curriculum is, and how to develop their own

  • provide resources, guidance and exemplars to support leaders and kaiako to be confident in knowing how to support Māori children to enjoy educational success as Māori.

To support improvement, ERO is:

  • developing a new approach to evaluating quality in early childhood services, supported by recently updated indicators of quality
  • supporting services to implement robust internal evaluation and associated quality improvement planning that sets out the actions being taken to improve quality, using the indicators of quality
  • focusing on the impact of improvement actions for children, and their progress towards the learning outcomes in Te Whāriki.